There were two startling moments, both involving Baryshnikov. One came at the end of the play, when his character, who has died on the Metro while reading a newspaper, returns to life. From the putting on of his military overcoat, he derives a dance, featuring the coat’s red lining, which he uses as a matador’s cape to dance as a bullfighter. The movements are compact and precise, and I am not equipped to say if they represent a refinement of the grand technique of his heyday, but I can say that they were compelling. The other moment occurred earlier in the play during a set piece in the restaurant in which Baryshnakov’s overcoat and hat kept falling from the pegs where he had settled them. They have fallen twice, and he has walked slowly over to them and hung them up again. They fall a third time, and in exasperation, he does a quick, foot-stamping dance—nearly a jig—which ends with a flourish of his arms. It had the compression, the succinctness of form and force, that the gesture of an older dancer can sometimes have. I had the feeling that I had seen something magnificent that had happened only there and nowhere else.

Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Play, “In Paris” : The New Yorker


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